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Milk Thistle Seed Feral Harvest

Labor Day has passed, and to some that means that summer is over. For me, I notice the

days getting shorter as the sun takes its journey down the horizon. It brings my focus to a plant that VOLUNTEERED in my garden. I noticed it's milky leaves in early April. I had just planted my corn, and was a little worried it would choke it out (which it did) but we made a choice.

In May the flower heads started popping up and by June the flowers were popping. After leaving town for a couple weeks I came home to the sweet relief of rain, and a HUGH Milk Thistle plant growing just past my front steps.

Traditionally Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum) is used as Food and Medicine. The whole plant is edible, tho leaves and flower heads must be de-spiked. It is seen as the 'Liver Herb', protecting the liver from toxins (environmental, alcohol, mushroom poisoning) and stimulating its function. Milk Thistle, as a liver stimulant, is useful in treating inflammation, melancholy, and constipation.

Culpeper assigns it to the planet Jupiter. It's milky veins could be seen as a doctrine of signature for its galactagoge action (stimulating the production of Breast Milk).

All seeds were harvested during the waxing moon to call-in the nourishing, building, and tonifying aspects of the plant medicine. During the next waxing moon I will begin the percolation. Stay tuned for more on that.

I harvested the flower heads as the flowers started to fade and the seeds were dark brown and ripe. I kept them in paper bags for a few weeks in hopes that the seedheads would open and a nice shaking would separate the seeds from the head. This didn't work out so well so I took matters into my own (rubber gloved) hands. Check out the video to the right. Once I got all the seeds out of the heads, I further separated the seeds from the fluffy thistledown by stirring the bowl to release the down, while blowing it off the top, gently. This is called winnowing.

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